Orrin Hatch is a Mind Reader

Senator Mike Lee had the balls to come out publicly and do what a bunch of his spineless moderate colleagues would not do. He said publicly he could not support moving forward with the Obamacare repeal legislation. As Ben Domenech and others have noted, Lee said publicly what more than a half dozen of his colleagues were saying privately. But that made him the bad guy.

Hugh Hewitt, who never misses a chance to praise Republican leaders (see e.g. the nomination of Harriet Miers), and Avik Roy, who fancies himself as the expert of experts on healthcare from the right, both claimed Lee was preserving Obamacare and flat out ignored that the McConnell legislation itself preserves Obamacare, which is Lee’s major problem with it.

Now Orrin Hatch has come forward with the amazing ability to read Mike Lee’s mind.

“I don’t see him looking for a path to yes. It seems like he’s against everything right now,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “That’s the way it looks to me.”

Had Hatch bothered to talk to Lee, as I have and as others have, he would learn that Lee is actually pretty committed to getting to yes to the point of being willing to vote for a measure that does not fully repeal Obamacare. But Lee understands the present legislation will not really lower costs, but the Cruz amendment would allow people to buy cheaper health insurance.

Hatch, who has rarely been opposed to anything his party proposes, sees a guy who actually has principles and who is actually willing to fight for those principles, and deduces Lee must actually be opposed to getting anything done. The reality is that Lee is one of the few senators who is not programmed with the “just do something” virus that compels him to do half measures and then lie to claim they are full measures.

Mike Lee actually wants to work towards keeping promises and not have to rely on Republican courtiers and leadership whores to lie to the public for their leaders.

Ending Filibuster Would Be Short-Sighted

President Trump tweeted yesterday morning that voters should “either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%,” implying that the Senate should go nuclear once again and completely eradicate the filibuster rule. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was quick to respond.

“That will not happen,” McConnell told The Hill and other reporters as he rejected the president’s idea out of hand.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good &quot;shutdown&quot; in September to fix mess!</p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/859393829505552385″>May 2, 2017</a></blockquote>

<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

The filibuster, originally a Dutch term for pirates, goes back to the early days of the Senate per the Senate website. The filibuster was well established by 1841 when Henry Clay (Whig-Ky.) threatened to change Senate rules to allow the majority to vote to end debate. Clay was rebuked by Thomas Hart Benton (Democratic-Republican- Mo.) for his attempt to stifle the Senate’s tradition of unlimited debate.

The Senate did weaken the filibuster in 1917 when adopted Rule 22 which established a cloture vote. A vote of two-thirds of the Senate could end debate on a bill. The filibuster reached its current form in 1975 when the number of votes required for cloture was reduced to 60.

“There is an overwhelming majority on a bipartisan basis not interested in changing the way the Senate operates on the legislative calendar,” McConnell said, adding that the move would “fundamentally change the way the Senate has worked for a very long time. We’re not going to do that.”

Removing the filibuster is tempting for some Republicans due to the slim GOP majority in the Senate. With only 52 Republican senators, at least eight Democrat votes are required for cloture on most bills. The need for cloture is a roadblock to much of the Republican reform agenda. In particular, Democrats are united against the repeal of Obamacare.

Nevertheless, elimination of the filibuster would be a double-edged sword that Republicans may soon regret. Over the past 100 years, the Democrats have controlled the Senate more than Republicans and the filibuster has enabled the GOP to halt Democrat action on many issues from gun control to cap-and-trade to public option health care. Without the filibuster, there would be no fail-safe the next time that Democrats hold a congressional majority.

“The rules have saved us from a lot of really bad policy,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). “I know we all are into short-term gratification, but it’s a real mistake, I think, from a legislative standpoint.”

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) agreed. “Had we not had the filibuster, this country would have been gone a long time ago, gone straight to socialism,” he said on CNN.

Last month, Senate Republicans eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, but a majority of senators say that further rule changes are unlikely. A bipartisan group of 61 senators sent a letter last month to Senate Leaders McConnell and Schumer (D-N.Y.) stating opposition to further changes. The Hill reports that Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have announced that they would oppose further changes. With two GOP senators already standing against elimination of the filibuster, any further defections would doom the plan.

For now, the filibuster appears safe, but pressure from the conservative base continues to mount and angry voters are urging Republicans to get things done with their majority. As frustration over Democrat obstructionism increases, calls to eliminate the filibuster will likely increase as well.

Orrin Hatch is a Naive Fool

Orrin Hatch, the senior senator from Utah, just released this statement:

This week has reminded us how damaging it would be to elect Hillary Clinton in November. I continue to encourage Mr. Trump to make critical adjustments to emerge as a successful general election candidate and a capable governing partner. As our presumptive nominee, Trump needs to offer an inclusive and attractive vision of how best to bring about broadly shared prosperity at home and security in a dangerous world. I hope he will focus less on personality and divisive rhetoric and more on policies and a capacity to govern effectively

Trump has been the presumptive nominee since the beginning of May and has missed every single opportunity to “make critical adjustments,” including in his meeting today with senators. In that meeting, Trump attacked Jeff Flake, Mark Kirk, and Ben Sasse for failing to support him.

All these guys, Hatch included, who think Trump is suddenly going to stop behaving like Trupm are naive fools.

Mitch McConnell Votes to Fund Obamacare

Hey, remember that awesome CPAC speech by Mitch McConnell? The one where Mitch McConnell said — and I quote — “Obamacare should be repealed root and branch. And we’re not backing down from this fight.” And the same speech where Mitch McConnell also said, “This law is a disaster, and anybody who thinks we’ve moved beyond it is dead wrong.” Well, as I told you, | Read More »